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Time to Tickle?

Kids and tickling go together like milk and cookies, right? But tickle your newborn and she may not so much as crack a smile.

Why? It's not really the sensation of being tickled that makes a child laugh  -- in fact, studies show most people don't truly enjoy the feeling. A baby's usually smiling because she's happy to be interacting with you. Because she may not respond to you that way until she's around 2 months, tickling isn't likely to inspire any response before then. Even after, her laughter doesn't necessarily mean she's enjoying it, says Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

So when your baby is old enough to giggle when you lean over to give her a good tickle, don't overdo it. "It's like a roller coaster: Rousing stimulation can be okay for a minute or two, but if your child has had enough -- she's squirming and struggling to get away  -- it's time to stop," says Field